Okanagan Residents Arrested in Gun Smuggling Ring
Four Canadian men and a Florida woman have been arrested in an international gun trafficking investigation.
Chief Dan Malo said at a press conference on Thursday that the investigation lead BC's Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU) to the Okanagan.
"We searched four properties, three houses in Penticton and a storage locker in Summerland related to the investigation and seized close to 40 firearms at those locations."
The houses searched in Penticton were in the 400 block of Bennett Road, 2000 block of Sandstone Crescent and an undisclosed location.
The storage locker raided in Summerland is in the 9900 block of Victoria South Road.
A warrant was also executed in the 7000 block of Mountridge Road in Vernon as well as at a property in Pace, Florida.
32 year old Riley Stewart Kotz of Vernon is facing 34 firearms related offenses.
Three Penticton men who have not been named are also facing charges.
Melo says during the arrest of two of the men CFSEU officers found multiple weapons.
"One was arrested after officers stopped him and the man he was with in the vehicle with officers finding seven fire arms and officers finding prohibited fire arm related devices including a silencer in the vehicle."
The third Penticton man was arrested at an undisclosed location.
Melo says approximately 80 firearms, over capacity magazines and thousands of round of ammunition were recovered during the investigation.
He adds that some the the weapons had a street value of $4,500 and in all likelihood would have made their way into the hands of gang members.
Police were tipped off in February that the illegal weapons were being sold online and resulted in the subsequent ten month undercover investigation spanning from Florida to Montana, Louisiana as well as in the Lower Mainland, Vernon, Penticton, Summerland and Sparwood.
Anita Sthankiya -Penticton